Everyone’s heard of (or had the pleasure of tasting) the classic Peruvian culinary experiences like ceviche and the liquor Pisco, but with nearly two thirds of the country covered in Amazonian rainforest, it’s easy to see how the region has developed its own unique cuisine.
Some feasts are the type that you’d never expect to see in your local restaurant or supermarket, but for those who are willing to try new things, you’ll be in for a tasty delight!
In Iquitos, a city in the heart of the Amazon, the food markets are overflowing with exotic fruits, spices and flavours that you might only ever see in this corner of the world.
For those who are looking for an easy and luxurious way to try out these Amazonian delicacies, a number of river cruises specifically serve (or stop for) local cuisine.
This worm is such a commonplace food in Amazon regions that it is often seen as a symbol representing the cuisine as a whole.
A wander through any of the markets around Iquitos or any of the other Amazon towns will be full to the brim with bundles of Suri-on-a-stick.
When fried, it’s described as having a crispy skin, with a creamy, fatty texture inside, almost like chorizo.
A lot of locals prefer it raw, simply opening the skin and sucking out the meat. Further, this little critter is super healthy for you to snack on.
2. TACACHOS CECINA
If you’ve ever been wondering how best to combine your bananas and some pork, then don’t worry, the culinary masters in Amazonian Peru are a few steps ahead of you.
Tacachos Cecina recipes see bananas peeled, cut and then fried, before being hand-pressed into tasty balls with fried pork.
The combination of sweet banana and the savoury pork work perfectly, but the Tacachos (just the banana) can be served with chicken, chorizo – like in the image above – or a number of other meats.
The Juanes delicacies (named for the feast day of St. John the Baptist, when it is traditionally eaten), is the perfect all-in-one meal from the Amazon.
Most commonly, pieces of chicken are roasted or boiled before being wrapped in a giant Bijao leaf with boiled eggs, rice, herbs, spices and vegetables.
This wrapped parcel is then boiled together in clay pots and served as one package. Other regional varieties are served with fish or pork, and mixed with different herbs and spices to suit.
4. CAMU CAMU
This red cherry-sized fruit might already be on the radar for people who try to stay up-to-date with health food trends.
Often sold as a new “superfood” in powder form in Western markets due to its exceptional vitamin C content, back in its home, the Camu Camu is often used to flavour sweets and ice cream when it isn’t being enjoyed for its fresh, acidic taste.
Another common place to find the fruit is mixed into the classic Peruvian drink, Pisco.
5. AJI AMARILLO
This chilli pepper has been named by renowned celebrity chef Gaston Acurio as the most important ingredient in Peruvian cuisine, and features in many dishes.
It’s commonly ground up and made into Aji Amarillo paste, which can feature in everything from roasted chicken dishes to potato salads.
For those who aren’t great with the burning feeling in their mouth, it’s considered hot on the Scoville scale (30,000 to 50,000 to be exact), which measures the spiciness of chili, and blends well with onion and garlic.
For more culinary experiences in Peru, visit https://www.peru.travel